ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET HEYDAY
by Adrian Sweeney
In 935, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company fleet consisted of seventeen vessels. It would be no exaggeration to say that it was a very mixed fleet indeed, consisting of steamers built by the Company, steamers bought second-hand, coal burners, oil burners, steam turbine engines, steam reciprocating engines, passenger vessels and cargo-only ships. It was certainly not a standardised fleet in any sense of the word, and of course, one of the main causes of this diversity was the losses that the Company had suffered in the Great War.
These had included Ramsey, sunk in the North Sea in 1915 by the German minelayer/raider Meteor, the crack ship in the fleet Ben-My-Chree (III), sunk by Ottoman gunfire off the island of Castellorizo in 1917, the paddle steamer Empress Queen in 1916, wrecked on Bembridge Ledge off the Isle of Wight while trooping and Snaefell in 1918 which was on her way home but was torpedoed three days out of Alexandria by a German U-boat. The Company began to replace these by buying second-hand vessels and it was not until 1927 that they launched their first purpose-built post-war steamer, Ben-My-Chree (IV). This book is a detailed history of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, from 1935 to the building of the last of the side-loading car ferries, Lady of Mann. Written by the publisher of Ships of Mann magazine, it is a must-have for all Manx transport enthusiasts!
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